Victoria slip to Men’s League away defeat

Matt Gowland scored for Victoria.
Matt Gowland scored for Victoria.

Birstall Victoria slipped to a 34-22 defeat away to Milford in the Yorkshire Men’s League last Saturday.

Playing on Milford’s 4G pitch should have been perfect for Birstall’s fast style of play but for a second consecutive away game, Victoria failed to take the spoils.

Captain and loose forward Matthew Gowland scored the Vic’s first try after 18 minutes, which Braden Hunter converted.

Winger Ryan Benson crossed two minutes before the break and Hunter converted, while also adding a first half penalty as the visitors led 14-10.

Birstall looked to be in control of the game when they extended their lead four minutes into the second half when centre Ashley Tomlinson received the ball inside his own half and burst through the Milford defence.

Tomlinson’s impressive swerving run left the Milford full-back standing and he scored in the corner.

Unfortunately with several players suffering injuries during the first half, Victoria’s substitutes bench was limited and this took its toll.

Milford scored three unanswered tries, all converted, which gave the home side a 28–18 lead going into the final 10 minutes.

Centre Ryan Ginnelly gave Birstall hope of getting something from the game when he crossed for a 73rd minute try but an error from the resulting kick-off put Birstall under pressure.

Victoria were unable to clear their line and a scrum followed another Birstall error, which allowed Milford chance to score another try and complete the scoring.

Man of the match went to Ryan Jackson, who impressed all game in attack, he was closely followed by Matthew Gowland for his work rate in defence and full-back Sam Thornton for several well-timed cover tackles.

Defeat leaves Birstall third in Division One, with two wins and two defeats from their opening four matches.

They are level on four points with Mirfield Stags having played a game more.

Victoria will look to bounce back from last week’s defeat this Saturday when they entertain Bentley (kick off 2.30pm).